People Like Us – Dana Mele

35356380People Like Us by Dana Mele

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: February 27th, 2018
Publisher: Putnam
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, LGBT, Boarding School, Relationships


Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.


I am obsessed with boarding school stories. Probably because I never went to such a school myself and am having so much fun living vicariously through these characters.

Lucky characters. I mean, I go to university, but I’m not in a dorm, so I’ve truly never experienced anything that even comes close to living with my classmates.

Though after finishing PEOPLE LIKE US, I think maybe it’s a good thing that I’m staying far away from these kinds of places.

Imagine you’re living with, let’s say, five hundred other teenagers. From the amount of crimes committed today, it’s possible at least one is or will become a pathological killer. Unfortunately for Kay Donovan, that pathological killer has come in contact with her and wants her to ruin the lives of her friends.

It’s a sick game. Kay doesn’t have a choice, because she herself has some secrets she’d rather people didn’t know about, and the police already suspects her for the death of Jessica Lane. So she plays the game, and gets other people, as well as herself, burned.

Kay Donovan never hides that she’s an unreliable character. It takes time for her to give us detail about her past, and more often than not those details are confusing, but at least she’s not pretending she is totally innocent.

I’ve read better YA mysteries and boarding school tales – give PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL a try! – but this is an engaging story regardless. I personally prefer my mystery heroines to not be innocent or naïve, since they must be smart and have enough grit to want to solve the case in the first place and not just wait for things to happen to them. Kay shows those qualities.

A little too focused upon relationships and surely it could have been shortened, but I liked that as readers we didn’t know if the murder was premeditated or a crime of passion.


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2 thoughts on “People Like Us – Dana Mele

  1. I read this last week and I enjoyed it too. Like you said, it focused a little too much on the relationships, but I found it engaging, regardless.

    I had a strong suspicion who the killer was right from the start (and I was right), but I also kept waiting for a surprise twist that would reveal someone else as the murderer (that didn’t happen). I also liked the slow reveal of Kate’s history and her secrets. Glad you enjoyed it!


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